Beverly Gooden, a domestic violence survivor, advocate, and creator of the #WhyIStayed movement, is someone I've known for over 15 years since meeting at Hampton University. After receiving her B.A. in Journalism & Communications from Hampton, and then later her M.A. in Social Justice & Community Development from Loyola University Chicago, she went on to pursue her career in social justice, community organizing, and human resources.
Though Bev's presence on social media, Twitter specifically, has always been that of a comedic, sharp-witted personality who loves to engage followers in thoughtful conversation, there was a noticeable change in her tone when several high profile domestic violence incidents flooded the mainstream media. Her social media platform then became one of empowerment, as she began a conversation centered around that of the domestic violence victims, thus the birth of the hashtag, #WhyIStayed. This lead to a global movement against domestic violence, and reenergized the importance of the victims' rights. Through social media, the #WhyIStayed campaign allows domestic violence victims to speak publicly about the various struggles that play a role in being in abusive relationships. It created an online community of support for those who may or may not have ever voiced their stories.
Since creating #WhyIStayed, Bev has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, TIME, CNN and many more. Many people were confused about why victims, such as the wife of NFL player Ray Rice would choose to stay after being physically or emotionally abused. Gooden answers these questions and speaks on behalf of the countless people who have endured that same struggle.
Beverly shows no signs of slowing down as it comes to increasing awareness while serving as a relatable role model for victims and survivors.